Posts Tagged ‘Saints’

Saint Joan of Arc

May 30, 2017

joan

Feast Day: May 30

Patron of: France, Orleans, Rouen, captives, opposition of Church authorities, radio workers, rape victims, shepherds, wireless telegraph workers, women in the military

Invoked for: strength in the face of opposition

Invoked against: fires in woodpiles

Symbols: armor, standard, sword

Saint Joan of Arc (or Jeanne d’Arc ) is both a secular heroine and a Roman Catholic saint. Known as La Pucelle, or “The Maid” to her countrymen, she is credited with being the galvanizing force that returned French rule to France.

Joan of Arc was from a comfortable peasant family of five children. Already known in the village as a pious child, the adolescent Joan was at work in a garden when she heard a disembodied voice in a blaze of light. The voice gave her a simple task: Pray often and attend church. After a time this voice revealed itself to be Michael the Archangel. The angel told her that she would soon be visited by Saint Margaret of Antioch and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, two ancient martyrs whose statues were ensconced in her village church. In her later testimony, Joan said the martyr’s voices began visiting her frequently, and she was eventually allowed to gaze upon them as well. Fearing disapproval from her father, Joan never told anyone about these visits. She also vowed to retain her virginity for as long as God wanted it.

After two years the three saints revealed Joan’s true task: She was to save her country by first taking Charles, the exiled heir to the throne, into Rheims to be crowned king, and then by driving the English out of France completely. She had no idea how an ignorant peasant girl was to accomplish this. But by the time she was sixteen, the voices grew more insistent and ordered Joan to travel to the next town to see the commander of Charles’s forces, Robert de Baudricourt, and tell him that she was appointed to lead the future king to his coronation.

Chaperoned by an uncle, she did as the voices instructed. The commander laughed and said, “Your father should give you a good whipping.” He also ignored Joan’s prediction that Orleans, the last remaining city in French hands on the Loire, would fall to the English if he did not listen to her. She returned home in defeat, the voices hounding her to complete her mission. She told them, “I am a mere girl who knows not even how to ride a horse.” They answered, “It is God who commands it.” She secretly returned to Baudricourt, who was unnerved by the fulfillment of her prediction. Orleans was ready to fall. Desperate for any help at all, and troubled by the girl’s otherworldly confidence, he recommended that the future king, known as the Dauphin, grant her an audience. Because the eleven-day journey to Chinon was through enemy territory, Joan was disguised in man’s clothing.

Tales of Joan’s seemingly supernatural abilities preceded her. As a test, Charles dressed a member of his entourage in royal robes while he stood among the throng of his courtiers. All were stunned when the girl walked in and immediately advanced toward the real Charles, saying, “Most illustrious Lord Dauphin, I have come and am sent in the name of God to bring aid to yourself and to the kingdom.” Privately, she related to him a secret prayer he had made the previous All Saints’ Day asking God to restore his kingdom if he was the true heir to the throne, and if not, to punish only him for his impudence and let his supporters live in peace. Unnerved, but not ready to accept this proof of her calling, Charles arranged for Joan to be interviewed by a group of theologians in Poitiers. They questioned her for three weeks before they granted their enthusiastic approval, amazed at how such an uneducated person could hold her own against learned scholars. They recommended that Charles recognize the girl’s divine gift and grant her
titular command of the army.

A small suit of armor was made for Joan, and she designed a banner for herself with the words Jesus Maria. Her voices told her to carry an ancient sword that would be found buried in the altar of the church of Saint Catherine-de-Fierbois. When it was easily found, Joan’s reputation as a messenger from God began to spread in the general population. Allegedly this sword was used by Charles Martel in the seventh century in his defense of France against the invading Saracens. Men enlisted who would normally not be inclined to join the army. Joan insisted that all soldiers go to confession and receive communion. She banished the prostitutes who routinely followed troops. There are many written accounts of men who served with Joan of Arc who declared that despite her physical beauty, they never “had the will to sin while in her company.”      

After unsuccessfully calling on the English to leave French soil, the military campaign to lift the siege of Orleans began on April 30. Charles’s commanders considered Joan a mere mascot and thus refused to take her strategic advice. After four days of witnessing their floundering efforts, Joan charged into
battle waving her banner. The vision of this fearless young girl on a mission from God turned the tide of the battle for the French army. By May 8 the English were forced to retreat and the siege of Orleans was lifted. Just as her voices had predicted, Joan endured a wound during the fighting. They also warned that she had very little time and had much to accomplish within the next year.

At her insistence, all English positions were cleared on the way to Reims. During these battles through one town and another, Joan took the lead, inspiring many common citizens to follow the troops. The English were routed completely, suffering a loss of 2,200 men, while the French army lost only three. With Joan organizing troop and artillery placement, the French army easily accomplished a feat that had seemed impossible to them–they drove the English out of Reims so that Charles VII could be crowned there, as all French kings had been before him. Joan held her banner as she stood next to Charles during his coronation on July 16, 1429.  Part of her mission was complete.

Though she was in a great hurry to accomplish the rest, Charles VII became cautious and followed his adviser’s recommendation to marginalize the seer. Against Joan’s wishes, he signed a truce with the Burgundians, which gave the British time to regroup. He refused to support his army in an assault on Paris, a fight in which Joan was wounded and forcibly removed from the battlefield. By the spring of 1430, Joan’s voices told her that she would be captured before the Feast of John the Baptist. This occurred in Burgundy on May 24. At that time, it was common practice to ransom off important captives. Charles VII could have offered to pay her ransom but instead ignored her plight. The inner circle of his court was discomfited by Joan’s strangeness. They convinced Charles that she had fallen out of favor with God. She was sold to the English, who imprisoned her in Rouen.

Since there were no rational explanations for her overwhelming successes, the English vowed revenge on Joan, considering her a witch with satanic powers. In order to destroy her reputation as a religious visionary sent by God, they wanted Joan tried in an Ecclesiastical court for witchcraft and heresy. Once this was proven, they could then charge that Charles VII was made king by diabolical means and reassert their claims on the French throne. Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais, willingly adopted this plot in order to realize his own political ambitions.

Joan was illegally held in a secular prison guarded by men who repeatedly threatened her with rape. Since it was believed that a true witch was the lover of the devil, when her virginity was proven, she could not be charged with witchcraft. She was interrogated from February 21 to March 17, 1431, by a relentless panel of forty-seven judges, a majority of whom came from the pro-English University of Paris. After an attempted escape, Joan was imprisoned in a cage, chained by the neck, hands, and feet, and she was forbidden to partake of any of the sacraments. Despite their avid attempts to browbeat her and put words in her mouth, she calmly deflected the panel. These trial transcripts exist today, and are a remarkable testament to the brilliance of her simple answers. Many times, she instructed the judges to look up testimony she had previously given–exact to the day and hour. On March 1 she further infuriated the court by stating that “Within seven years’ space the English would have to forfeit a bigger prize than Orleans.” (Within six years and eight months the English would abandon French soil entirely.)

By May, the judges had written up their verdict: Forty-two of them agreeing that if Joan did not retract her statements, she would be handed over to the civil powers to be burned at the stake. Filled with fear, Joan signed a two-line retraction. A document detailing her acts as works of the devil was substituted in the official record. Because she had done as the judges ordered, they could not execute her and the British were furious. It is not known if Joan was so afraid of the threat of rape by her guards or if the dress she had been wearing during her trial was taken away and her male costume the only thing left to her, but when she appeared before the court on May 29 dressed as a man, she was declared a relapsed heretic. Her masculine attire served as proof of her crime, and she was burned at the stake in the town square the next day. On the morning of her execution she was visited by the judges. She solemnly warned Cauchon that he would be charged by God for the responsibility of her death. She insisted her voices came from God and had not deceived her. Her last word, as she was consumed by flames was “Jesus.” In order to discourage the collection of relics, her ashes were thrown into the Seine.

A reversal of her sentence was granted by the pope in 1456, twenty-five years after her death, citing of the unfairness of her judges and the fact that the court illegally denied her right to appeal to the Holy See. Joan of Arc remains one of the most illustrious historical figures in the world. Poets, painters, writers, and filmmakers have ensured her role in popular culture. While the image of her as a beautiful girl warrior is a romantic one, in fact she is the only person in written history, male or female, to command a nation’s army at the age of seventeen. Mocked as a pious lunatic by many intellectuals during the Enlightenment, her reputation as a French patriot was resuscitated when she became powerful propaganda figure during both world wars. She was finally declared a saint in 1920.

In art, Joan of Arc wears her suit of armor and carries her “Jesus Mary” banner. Because of her voices, she is the patron of radio and telegraph workers. She is patron of women in the military and shepherds because these were her occupations. She dressed in men’s clothing to avoid the threat of rape so she is the patron of rape victims. Most important, she is the patron of the nation she saved, France.

Novena to Saint Joan of Arc

Glorious Saint Joan of Arc, filled with compassion for those who
invoke you, with love for those who suffer,
heavily laden with the weight of my troubles,
I kneel at your feet and humbly beg you to take my present need
under your special protection [state intention here].
Vouchsafe to recommend it to the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and lay it before the throne of Jesus.
Cease not to intercede for me until my request is granted.
Above all, obtain for me the grace to one day meet God face to face
and with you and Mary and all the angels and saints praise Him
through all eternity.

O most powerful Saint Joan, do not let me lose my soul,
but obtain for me the grace of winning my way to heaven,
forever and ever.

Amen.

excerpted from the book, “Saints:Ancient and Modern”

Giveaway—40 Days of Lent— 40 novena app’s

February 18, 2016

NOVENA_APP_SPLASH_PAGE (2)To the first 40 people who send us their email, we will gift you novena app for the iPhone or iPad. Send email to dipasqua@nyc.rr.com.

36 Saints, prayer, history and artwork.

The saints, having been human, lived every type of earthly existence and it is in the details of their life stories that we find their patronages. By invoking the saints, we ask for guidance in overcoming our own earthly trials, much like one would ask advice of a family member or friend. Meditating on the lives of these remarkable people inspires us to conquer our own personal obstacles.

A novena is a nine day period of prayer. Usually the novena prayer is recited nine times in a row for nine consecutive days, the repetitive nature of the prayer serves to bring on a quiet and meditative state. When ones mind quiets down, it allows the solution to a problem to appear or even help in the acceptance of an unchangeable life challenge.

To help you find a saint that can aid you with your specific dilemma, we have divided this app of thirty-six saints into four categories: Health, Occupations, Situations and States of Life. You can find your saint by personally relating to their history, by being drawn to the illustrated depictions in their holy cards, or by searching the Glossary of extensive problems and life situations.

Our beautiful vintage holy cards depict the saints with the enigmatic attributes and symbols that are commonly used to represent them. Brief explanations of these symbols are given to help decipher the visual iconography in their images. The prayers in this app are universally known and have been used for centuries as tools in obtaining clarity and peace of mind. All are free to utilize them, regardless of one’s faith or religious belief.

Feast of Saint Adelaide, December 16

December 16, 2015

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Born 931

Patron Saint of Brides

Considered the most famous woman of her time. Adelaide was married twice. Her first marriage was arranged and ended with her husbands death three years later. Eventually she married Otto the Great with whom she had four children. Adelaide’s life was full of drama, including exile and raising her grandchildren.

She is one of the saints in Saints for All Occasions Notecards.

“These notecards are amazing – simply beautiful. They can be used for any occasion. We recently used these notecards for a retreat – they were so inspirational for those who received them.”—Rosie PS, Amazon review

Feast of St. Gerald Majella

October 10, 2013

St.GeraldSt. Gerard Majella

1726 – 1755

Feast Day: October 16

Patron of: Infertility

Keywords: expectant mothers, infertility, lay brothers, mothers, pregnancy

Quote: “Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?”

Symbols: skull, lily crucifix, psalter

A quiet and humble lay brother in the newly found Redemptorist order, St. Gerard Majella did not display his great mystical gifts until the last three years of his life. Before his early death at the age of twenty-nine, he was known as “The Wonderworker of the Eighteenth Century”, for his ability to read consciences, predict the future, be in two places at once, heal the dying and infuse his surroundings with serenity. He is most invoked by women who want to conceive a child and though there are many different novenas to him, The Prayer for Motherhood is particularly popular throughout the world.

Born in a town south of Naples to a tailor and his wife, Gerard was a sickly child, contemplative by nature. At the age of twelve, his father died, plunging his family into poverty. Gerard was apprenticed to a tailor in order to support his mother and three sisters.  He suffered brutally at the hands of this abusive man and eventually got a job as a servant for the local bishop. His hopes of entering the Capuchin order were dashed due to his poor health. Upon returning home, his devout nature and his kindness, especially to children, was noticed by St. Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorist order. He invited Gerard to join as a lay brother and work in the slums among the poor. It was while he was serving on this mission that Gerard faced the greatest challenge of his life. A young woman accused him of fathering her unborn child. When Gerard refused to comment on these charges or defend himself, the Redemptorists had no choice but to deprive him of the privilege of working with them. Months later when the woman admitted that she had lied, a bewildered Alphonse Liguori asked Gerard why he had remained silent. He answered that he had complete faith in God and that silence was the only answer to unjust accusations.

Raised as the only male in a household of women, St. Gerard was particularly sensitive to the problems women had in conceiving and giving birth. While visiting family friends, he dropped his handkerchief while leaving. The young woman of the family ran to give it to him and he refused to take it saying, “Keep it. One day it will be of service to you.” Though puzzled, she did as he said. Years later, while dying in childbirth she remembered his words and had the handkerchief brought to her and placed on her womb. All deadly complications stopped and she gave birth to a healthy baby. The handkerchief of St. Gerard’s was passed from mother to mother until his canonization in 1904. The remaining shred is still used to bless relics for those seeking to conceive a child or have a safe delivery.

Explanation of symbols:

Lily: purity

Skull: contemplative, the sign of one who knows that this life is temporary.

Psalter: book of devotional texts

Crucifix: devotion to Christ and willing to suffer

Novena Prayer for to St. Gerard Majella for Motherhood

O good St Gerard, powerful intercessor before God and wonder worker of our day, confidently I call upon you and seek your aid.  On Earth you always fulfilled God’s designs, help me now to do the holy will of God.  Implore the Master of Life, from whom all paternity proceeds, to render me fruitful in offspring, that I may raise up children to God in this life, and in the world to come, heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory. Amen.

January 11, 2009

infantjesus-prague1The feast of the Infant of Prague  January 14
Appeal to the Infant of Prague in times of desperation, to stop an epidemic or for abundance
Few novenas promise the instantaneous results of those to the Infant of Prague. It necessitates a suspension of all doubt as it is completed in one day over a nine-hour time span. Perhaps the most invoked aspect of Christ in the world, this novena promises that anything is possible for those who believe. Christ is presented as both a kindly child and a king. The Infant of Prague is a statue of the child Jesus dressed in actual clothing. Instead of the modest garments of a poor child, he is wearing the sumptuous gown of royalty. Because the Infant of Prague looks like a little doll, we are welcome to approach him with the open faith of a child. Reflecting the faith of Jesus, the novena requires an intensity of devotion. Many people have a version of this statue in their homes, as it is said to guarantee abundance. This novena, frequently utilized by those in financial difficulties, can be said during any desperate situation.
POWERFUL NOVENA IN TIMES OF DISTRESS TO THE INFANT OF PRAGUE
Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who so lovingly said,
“Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find;
knock and it shall be opened to you,” have mercy on me now,
and through the intercession of our most holy Mother,
I humbly ask you to grant me the grace I need.
(Mention your request)
Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who so compassionately taught,
“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes,”
have pity on me now. I do believe; help me.
Increase my weak faith through the Blessed Mother’s intercession.
I humbly ask you to answer my request.
(Mention your request)
Divine Infant of Prague, dearest Jesus, you who once said to the Apsotles:
“If you have faith like a mustard seed, you will say to the mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
Hear my prayer, I humbly ask.
Through the intercession of Mary most holy,
I feel certain that my prayer will be answered.
(Mention your request)
Because this novena is said for those in great distress or emergency situations, it is completed in one day.
Say this novena nine times in a row at the same time every hour for nine consecutive hours.
An edited excerpt from “Novena: The Power of Prayer”

Dining with the Saints

November 23, 2008

caravaggio_-_burial_of_st_lucyrev

Cuccia for St. Lucy’s Day

Sicilians eat cuccia in honor of St. Lucy to this day because of a miracle attributed to her that happened in 1582. That year Sicily was suffering from a terrible famine, and a flotilla of ships carrying grain showed up on December 13—either in Palermo or in Siracusa. December 13 is St. Lucy’s saint’s day. The people of Sicily felt that this huge blessing was the work of their beloved saint.

The people where so famished that they didn’t wait to grind the wheat; rather they boiled the grains whole. Sicilians honor the memory of Santa Lucia on December 13 by refusing to eat anything made with ground flour—no bread, no pasta, the staples of their diet.

Sicilians eat sweet cuccia on Santa Lucia’s day and only then. It’s especially popular in Palermo and in Siracusa, where Lucy was born. It’s made by mixing boiled whole wheat berries with sweetened ricotta, usually sheep’s milk ricotta. It’s served warm and makes a really delicious afternoon snack. Every cook, usually the mom in a Sicilian family, flavors cuccia in their own personal way, creating a taste their family comes to expect each year. You can add candied citron or orange peel, honey, a few shavings of chocolate, cinnamon, orange flower water. I prefer mine with toasted pine nuts and raisins, sugar, and a dusting of cinnamon.

Sweet Cuccia with Pine Nuts and Raisins

(Makes 4 servings)1 cup hard wheat berries (avoid red wheat berries, as they don’t cook up soft enough)

Sicilian sea salt (from Trapani)

1 cup whole milk ricotta, cow or sheep’s milk

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

A few drops of vanilla extract

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

¼ cup raisins soaked in a tablespoon or so of sweet Marsala

A dusting of ground cinnamon

Soak the wheat berries overnight in abundant cool water. Drain them. Pour them into a saucepan. Cover them with  fresh water by at least four inches. Add about ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down so the wheat can cook at a low simmer, partially cover the pan, and cook until the wheat is tender and has just started to burst, about an hour. If the water level gets low at any time during cooking, just add a little.

 

Drain the wheat and pour it into a pretty serving bowl. Mix the ricotta with the powdered sugar and the vanilla, and fold it into the wheat. Add the pine nuts and raisins with their Marsala soaking liquid. Mix gently. Dust the top with ground cinnamon. Serve warm.